These locations are rarely overlooked and will not offend neighbours or the public at large. The gravesite should be on land with a deep water table and be sufficient distance from watercourses so as not to pose a pollution threat. Electrical or other services must obviously be avoided. A limited number of burials over a period of time may not constitute a "change of use" and no planning approval is thereby necessary. Information submitted by the Natural Death Centre states "Recent local authority Certificates of Lawfulness have decided that planning permission is not required for the non-commercial burial on private land of a limited number of family, friends or those living in the house. These decisions have not been tested in the courts. The Department of Environment are more cautious, and accept merely that planning permission is not required for the burial of one or two persons in back gardens".
Exceeding a "limited" number of burials may require planning approval for use as a cemetery or for "mixed use" if farming is also to continue.
Safe grave excavation would be a further consideration, as well as leaving sufficient depth of soil (three foot) over the body. If it is intended to fence or mark the grave(s) with a memorial, planning permission may be required. In effect, a single burial in a farm situation can proceed without an approach to, or the approval of, any council or other official organisation.
The situation in a garden is complicated by the proximity of neighbours. They may oppose a burial nearby and may be offended by the sight of a coffin or body. Although these may not pose legal objections, it may not be conductive to good relationships. Otherwise, the aspects outlined under farm burials above are broadly similar. The particular difficulty in these locations is the reduction of the property value due to the presence of a grave. Although figures of 20% are mentioned, this has yet to be proven. Undoubtedly, a significant fall will occur although the fact that many buyers would not even consider the purchase at all seems more relevant.
Two major concerns influence this choice of burial. Firstly, the body could be exhumed by any new property purchaser, and re-buried in a cemetery. This reason for obtaining an exhumation licence has yet to be tested, but would seem feasible. There are legal means (restrictive covenant) by which you can ensure the grave remains untouched, but this will involve costs and other uncertainties. Secondly, details of the burial will not be officially recorded, as they would be in a cemetery. Nonetheless, it appears that there is a statutory requirement for the landowner to maintain a register of burials. This can be in the form of a sheet of paper or notebook, preferably with a plan to show the location. These should be kept somewhere accessible in case the grave is disturbed by building or excavation works at some stage in the future.
A certificate for burial issued by a Coroner or Registrar of Births and Deaths will have to be obtained. The detachable section of this is to be completed and returned to the Registrar by the person arranging burial. It is important to note that, as explained above, the details of the burial, including the burial location, are not recorded by the Registrar. The Registrar is appointed to record population data and is not able to record the place of burial.
Depending upon the circumstances, you may find it difficult to obtain a funeral director to help you with this type of burial. You can of course do the funeral without a funeral director.